This balcony vignette includes contrasting colors and shapes with plants from France, Australia, Pilipinas, and Tokyo (lavender, formium, banana, and kanamemochi).
This is the second year that I am growing this beautiful daisy-like cream flower with very soft leaves, Actinotus helianthi, known in Japan as “fairy white” (フェアリー・ワイト). I think it’s odd that a plant that is iconic of Sydney, Australia, where it is called Flannel plant, does so well in Tokyo. My San Francisco gardener friend Hank was amazed to see it in Tokyo. The Wikipedia page suggests it likes well drained soil, so perhaps it was destined to be a potted plant!
Over the next two months, I will be regularly contributing blog posts to Creative Cities, a project by the British Council focused on creative cities in the UK, East Asia, and Australia. Under the direction of Australian arts director and editor Jess Scully, the Creative Cities brings together some exciting ideas from thirteen countries about the role of creative cities in our changing world.
This month, the focus is on sustainable cities, and I am looking forward to the discussion generated by the contributors and readers. My first post describes the very Japanese mix of otaku (geek) culture, old traditions, and environmental activism as Akihabara maids plant and harvest rice. I am excited to be in this exciting East Asian and UK discussion of the role of creative cities in solving problems and making our lives better.
From Inhabitat (click for more images), I read about a design concept for high-rise suburban living called Skyburb. It’s designed by Sydney architects Tzannes Associates to provide flexible, modular, and park-like vertical spaces in densely built areas. I am a bit skeptical about the idea of “introducing qualities of the suburbs into denser urban environments” because it is hard to imagine suburban living without privatized open space, automobile dependency, and nuclear family anomie. I think revitalized cities can and must do better than that. Still, the open steel structure and heavily green renderings are certainly appealing.